NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Professor Calma: act now for those who come next

feature tile: portrait shot of Prof Tom Calma; text '2023 ANU Reconciliation Lecture: Professor Tom Calma AO urges action NOW for those who COME NEXT'

The image in the feature tile is of Professor Tom Calma AO from the ANU Reconciliation Lecture 2023 in partnership with UC webpage of the Australian National University (ANU) website.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.

Professor Calma: act now for those who come next

The ANU Reconciliation Lecture is part of a lecture series, which began in 2018 to highlight Indigenous researchers and Indigenous research, has since become the ANU’s flagship event for National Reconciliation Week. This year the lecture was delivered by Professor Tom Calma AO, a Kungarakan Elder, a member of the Iwaidja people, 2023 Senior Australian of the Year and the Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Professor Calma said that although National Reconciliation Week had passed, reconciliation is an ongoing endeavour as the theme “Be a Voice for Generations” aptly illustrates. Professor Calma said “The theme is about speaking up and carrying on the work of those who came before us. To honour their legacy by acting now for those who come next. It’s a call to not be silent, but to raise our voices to demand action for a better future.”

Professor Calma reiterated comments he’d made in 2008 as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, “Without proper engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, governments will struggle in their efforts to make lasting progress in improving the conditions of Indigenous people and in our communities. Much of the failure of service delivery to Indigenous people and communities, and the lack of sustainable outcomes, is a direct result of the failure to engage appropriately with Indigenous people and of the failure to support and build the capacity of Indigenous communities. It is the result of a failure to develop priorities and programs in full participation with Indigenous communities.”

“Put simply, governments risk failure – and will continue to do so – if they develop and implement policies about Indigenous issues without engaging with the intended recipients of those services. Bureaucrats and governments can have the best intentions in the world, but if their ideas have not been subject to the “reality test” of the life experience of the local Indigenous peoples who are intended to benefit from this, then government efforts will fail.”

To read the ANU article 2023 ANU Reconciliation Lecture: Full Speech by Tom Calma in full click here. You can also watch Professor Tom Calma AO delivering the 2023 ANU Reconciliation Lecture in the video below:

$3.4m to WA ACCOs to improve service delivery

The WA Government has awarded grants to 16 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) as part of the implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. In partnership with Lotterywest, the WA Government, released the grants program in October 2022 calling for ideas from ACCOs to improve the delivery of priority community services to Aboriginal people and communities across WA.

Not-for-profit ACCOs across WA were encouraged to apply for a share of grants from the $3.4m Closing the Gap funding. Grant applications were invited from organisations who wanted to improve, expand or develop initiatives across the priority sectors of housing, health, disability, and early childhood care and development. The grants are to assist ACCOs in delivering high-quality, sustainable services and outcomes for Aboriginal people and communities.

Of the 16 grant recipients, four are ACCHOs:

  • Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Limited (KAMS)
  • Moorditj Koort Aboriginal Corporation
  • Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Aboriginal Corporation (NPY Women’s Council)
  • South-West Aboriginal Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation (SWAMS)

To view the Government of WA’s media statement Grants inject $3.4 million to support services for Aboriginal people in full click here.

Clockwise from L: KAMS building; Moorditj Koort gym; NPY Women's Council logo; SWAMS mobile van

Clockwise: KAMS, Moorditj Koort, NPY Women’s Council logo and SWAMS mobile van.

Smart glasses to improve foot wound treatment

Mixed-reality smart glasses with holographic features are set to revolutionise the treatment of leg and foot wounds for people with diabetes and vascular disease in regional and remote areas in the future. University of Adelaide researchers are leading the development of new software for a mixed-reality headset that will allow practitioners working in the city to “see through the eyes” of rural health workers in real time as they assess and treat patients’ leg and foot ulcers.

“This new technology will potentially change how wounds are treated and the way telemedicine is practiced,” said the University of Adelaide’s Professor Robert Fitridge from the Adelaide Medical School, who is chief investigator on this study. “Chronic ulcers on the lower limbs are a common problem and cause significant illness and diminished quality of life. The new software will allow health professionals in different locations to work more closely together, potentially preventing leg and foot amputations and saving lives,” he said.

“Seeing through the eyes of rural health workers to accurately diagnose and treat wounds will reduce the rates of emergency hospitalisations for rural and regional patients while frequently allowing them to stay in their home communities when they otherwise would have needed to come to a metropolitan hospital,” said Dr Neil McMillan, a researcher at the Adelaide Medical School. “There is an increasing need for this type of technology as the rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease continue to rise. Reduced access to health services outside of the city contributes to delayed screening and detection of disease in rural communities, not to mention the financial burden on patients and the health system,” said Dr McMillan. Diabetes-related foot disease caused an estimated 1,700 deaths and more than 5,000 lower limb amputations in Australia in 2019–2020 alone.

To view The University of Adelaide article Smart glasses to improve diagnosis and treatment of foot wounds in full click here.

health worker using smart glasses to examine patient's feet

Image source: The University of Adelaide website.

Empowering communities with My Health Record

The Australian Digital Health Agency is hosting a webinar for consumers to learn more about the benefits of My Health Record and the my health app in supporting the preservation of bush medicine information, care on Country and community wellbeing.

There will also be an opportunity for questions and answers at the end of the session.

WHEN: Wednesday 5 July 2023

TIME: 1.00 – 1.30pm AEST

To register for the Empowering communities with My Health Record webinar click here.

AIDA My Health Record banner - logos of AIDA & My Health Record

PAMS wins social impact architecture award

Puntukurnu AMS Healthcare Hub has been named a joint winner of the inaugural ArchitectureAU Award for Social Impact. The award recognises projects that promote the common good and rewards architectural practice that preferences empathy over aesthetics. Situated in one of the remotest communities in Australia (1,200 km north of Perth), the project collaborated and consulted community, including the Nyiyaparli and Martu Elders. Now, the state-of-the-art health facility is infused with the needs and wishes of the users and serves as a significant meeting place.

The award’s jury chair Katelin Butler said, “Design excellence is not found in the creation of beautiful buildings alone. It is also found in the architectural process – that is, how the problem or brief is defined, who is empowered to be part of the journey, and who benefits from the outcome. How does the building work to support the client? How does it align with the broader public benefit? And how does the design itself enhance these benefits?”

The building designed by Kaunitz Yeung Architecture creates a visual narrative that emphasises inclusion and history of the local. Beyond aesthetics, the Health Hub has increased presentation rates for medical treatment by reducing the need to travel long distances for care.

Read more about the ArchitectureAU Award for Social Impact here.

Puntukurnu AMS Healthcare Hub (WA) courtyard

Puntukurnu AMS Healthcare Hub by Kaunitz Yeung Architecture. Photo: Robert Frith. Image source: Arch Daily.

Plan to deliver holistic mental health care for mob

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) has launched a three-year plan aiming to improve mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the region. The Aboriginal and Mental Health and Wellbeing Implementation Plan prioritises culturally safe and accessible care, and focuses on involving Aboriginal people in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of mental health services. Aboriginal community members participated in yarning sessions to provide feedback and share their mental health experiences.

ISLHD says it recognises the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in in-patient mental health services and highlights the need for a shift towards community-based care to better meet the community’s needs. That includes an emphasis on the importance of creating culturally inclusive and responsive services that address the historical trauma and barriers faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Fostering an environment of respect, empathy, and support, the plan aims to close the gap in mental health outcomes.

ISLHD CEO, Margot Mains said, “We commit to acknowledging the past and we commit to continuing to strive to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. We’ve worked hard to build a stronger workforce and a healthier Aboriginal community, but we have a long way to go.

Read the full Region Illawarra article Mental Health Plan aims to deliver holistic model of care for Aboriginal communities here.

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District CEO Margo Mains, Clinical Lead Sharlene Cruikshank & Acting Director Mental Health Services Adam Bryant

At the launch of ISLHD’s Aboriginal Mental Health Plan: CEO Margot Mains, Clinical Lead Sharlene Cruikshank and Acting Director Mental Health Services Adam Bryant. Photo: Jen White. Image source: Region Illawarra.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *